I know “Be Prepared” is the Boy Scouts’ motto, but it could easily be every mom’s slogan too. Today I’m sharing some fun things to do with kids when you go outdoors. Also here’s how to prepare so you (the mama bear) can actually experience a little peace (and dare I say even relaxation?!) on your next outdoor adventure!
With our Adventure Packs, we are prepared to go outdoors on a family outing whenever we’ve got a free moment!
How to Enjoy the Outdoors with Your Family
Simple things such as taking a walk or visiting a park are important to do with kids — helping them connect with nature and not just the kind you see on screens! In an effort to encourage my family to get outside and explore nature, we put together our Adventure Packs with outdoor games and other things to get us excited about exploring the great outdoors.
The real trick — we keep our Adventure Packs packed and ready in the hall closet, so we can grab them and go at a moment’s notice. Even better than being prepared: preparing something ONCE and enjoying the benefits again and again! ;)
How to make a kid’s outdoor adventure pack
While an Adventure Pack could contain whatever fun supplies your children like to explore with, I’ve compiled a list of suggestions to help get you started. We are looking for simple and fun items that make the outdoors a little more exciting for children. I recommend making one Adventure Pack for each child that’s big enough to carry one, and certainly once they are big enough to start “collecting” lots of things.
1. A Dedicated Backpack. This contains our supplies so that we don’t have to gather them up each time we head out. A backpack is also handy for collecting all those nature treasures along the way.
2. Nature Journaling Supplies. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and observe the great outdoors. We pack a cheap journal along with pencils, water colors, and tape to use during this quiet time. You could also consider a lightweight book about insects, plants or another outdoor subject. When your family is new to the “quietly observing” thing, I find it helps to make it a game. Try a timed Quiet Game and see who can be quiet for 2 minutes, and work your way up from there. I’m sure I don’t have to explain the benefits of this game to any mama out there LOL!
3. Fun Exploring Tools. These are things that will help children feel more official as they play the part of a “real explorer.” Depending on your child’s age, these tools don’t necessarily need to be full-size, working items. The point is more to help their imaginations along as they make believe in the outdoors. Check out your local dollar store for things like a magnifying glass or pair of binoculars (or consider making these imagination binoculars). You might also look for a measuring tape or ruler; tweezers; and test-tube-type plastic containers or a small baggy to help them collect more official “specimens.”
4. Rug or Blanket. Not as obvious of a thing to include, but since nature isn’t very soft or clean, we pack a cheap IKEA rag rug into our packs so that we always have a nice, soft place to sit for outdoor games or picnics. Of course you could opt for a shared blanket, or, even better, a large, flat bedsheet because it folds flat and is super lightweight. (I keep a sheet of these stashed in my car at all times for impromptu picnics.) Although an individual rug is nice to give each kiddo their own space. You know, so they’re not tempted to poke, pinch, kick, etc.
5. Water Bottle and Snack. It is important to always have water when you go outdoors, and as most moms know, a snack never hurt either!
6. First Aid Kit. I want to teach my children about always being prepared, especially outdoors, and I keep a full first aid kit in my pack (Target has some really cute ones). The children get a smaller kit to keep in theirs. (The Dollar Tree sells a couple of great, little first aid kits!)
With all these supplies in our packs, we are prepared to go outdoors on a family outing — off to a park, hike, or adventure — whenever we’ve got a free moment! Now is the perfect time to get prepared so you can enjoy lots of family time together outdoors.
This post was originally contributed in 2016 by Tiffany and Sara of Compass Crate, which is no longer in business. Post updated to include more tips by Bettijo in April 2021.